In January 2017 we were given the opportunity to travel from Sydney to London to participate in the ‘Excelian Consultant Academy’. The program lasted for three weeks and included training in consultancy skills, financial markets and our respective specialities - Murex and Calypso. Having both completed degrees in IT and with separate strengths in Murex (Arslan’s work experience with the system) and Finance (Darren’s applied finance degree), we were excited to expand our knowledge and meet the teams in London.

On the first day, we got a warm welcome from Toni Marshall, who was greatly supportive during the entire trip. We also had the chance to meet Nick Thomas, the Managing Director & Head of Murex Practice, and other trainees that would be joining us on our Excelian Academy journey. Nick provided us with an overview of Excelian’s history and explained how the company achieved its status as a leading Murex consultancy. This session also aimed to set a benchmark of what is expected of us as consultants and what we should endeavour to achieve.

Mark Blackmore of Lammore Consulting conducted an engaging consultancy skills training session. During our four days with him we polished our people management skills, learned about time management, and received guidance on how to improve our presentation skills. These sessions were a great opportunity to get to know other trainees, and were and opportunity to make new friends in the process.

The Financial Markets training was conducted by Chris Louch, who provided us with an overview of the Money Markets, Capital Markets, Fixed Income Securities and Equity. It was very useful because it was strictly related to our future day-to-day work, and it gave us a better understanding of how Murex and Calypso are deployed in investment banking. We were given real life problems to test our technical skills and our understanding of different financial products; the scenarios included money market liquidity, short term interest rate risk management and bond pricing. We ended the session with an overview of new market regulations, followed by a thorough Q&A, which gave us real insight into changes in the financial services industry and how they will affect our work in the future.

Arslan’s Murex Training

We had our introductory Murex training with Excelian Principal Consultants. Laurent Pennec began with a high-level overview of the system. It was a perfect start for both those new to the world of Murex and those who had previous experience with it, like myself.

The remainder of the training was divided into three sessions, each conducted by a subject matter expert. The training on the Murex Core Modules & Global Operating Module was carried out by Rushmi Patel and it was mainly focused on how to navigate and carry out basic tasks (pricing trades etc.). The next session on Front Office Modules was conducted by Carlo Afeltra and Federica Asnicar. Even though the course was quite overwhelming at first, things became more straightforward after a series of relevant exercises in separate Murex environments. The exercises helped us understand the complex configurations of various products and the processes involved.

Darren’s Calypso Training

Calypso training was quite a sea change from the previous week and a half, as I was the only Calypso trainee. I was introduced to the Calypso team at ICBC Standard Bank in London, and it was incidentally the first time I have stepped into a client’s office while working at Excelian! I met the Head of Calypso Prakash Anthony and the rest of the Calypso team. This was a valuable experience because as a team they have decades of combined experience. During lunch that day it was clear that the team were very friendly and also that, to my surprise, not many Australians actually drink the famous ‘Fosters’ beer (we have standards in Australia).

Training required studying Calypso documentation along with face to face meetings with Vinayak Khetmar, who has had over ten years’ experience using Calypso. He was pleasant, very easy to talk to and answered all questions in layman’s terms so I could understand key topics clearly. We were given a general overview of Calypso and its basic configurations; Fixed Income Securities, Back Office Engines and Workflows. Studying the documentation before every meeting allowed me to list questions which could be explored in-depth during our meetings. This multifaceted approach to learning improved my understanding of the information. The Calypso training was valuable and gave me a detailed overview of the system and of what’s to come in the future.

A fantastic experience

Overall, we enjoyed our experience in London. The trainers were very engaging and enthusiastic during the entire training program. We were provided with real life scenarios and case studies that we could easily relate to our work. Even though the training period was short, it was very effective. It gave us a jumpstart as well as a good understanding of what we should expect. London was a fantastic experience, whether it was learning about Murex, Calypso, or making new friends. The London team could not have been more welcoming and we would like to thank everyone for their hospitality.